Monday 17 January 2011

Forties Fashion #1: Day Wear 1940

Another week, another new series of posts (don't worry, I haven't forgotten about Film Friday - it will return!). This one is definitely by popular demand; as some of you may remember I happened across a Fashion Sourcebook for the 1940s in my local library sale a month ago and it occurred to me then that it might make the basis for some decent blog posts. Being the polite, law-abiding type I did e-mail the publishers to see if they had any objection to my using the images in this small way - I've taken their resounding silence as tacit approval but don't be surprised if this and subsequent posts disappear at any time in the future(!).

Anyway, moving on, here is the first set of illustrations showing the average 1940 day wear. As the author notes, there are fewer men's examples due to male fashion being "relatively stationary and somewhat dull" (charming! You ladies have all the fun...!) so I'm sorry about that chaps. On the upside I suppose it makes it easier for us boys to find a fairly accurate 40s look - flicking through the book I was surprised by how little, in the main, men's formal/semi-formal fashions have changed in the last 70 years.

To take each individual picture:

Top left wears: V-neck, knee-length flared wool dress in mustard yellow (with side fastening, elbow-length sleeves and padded shoulders); brimless brown fur hat with silk cord trim; fur muff, brown suede high heels and matching gloves.

Top middle wears: three-quarter length fawn faux fur, single-breasted, plastic-buttoned V-neck collarless coat; brown wool skirt; small-crowned, flat-topped fawn felt hat with curled brim and brown ribbon trim; brown leather gloves & shoes.

Top right wears: blue-grey wool 2-piece jumper suit (knee-length pleated skirt); grey felt hat with black ribbon band and red feather trim; black leather bag and matching gloves & shoes ("high lace-up vamps, high heels" - whatever they may be!).

Bottom left wears: pink wool-crepe dress (bloused bodice, knee-length flared skirt, three-quarter length sleeves, narrow cuffs, padded shoulders); pale grey felt hat with blue velvet ribbon; pink suede gloves; grey wool clutch bag with blue plastic clasp; blue leather, bow-trimmed high heels.

Bottom right (a man, finally!) wears: two-piece dark grey wool suit with single-breasted, 3-button jacket; straight-cut trousers with turn ups; blue and white striped shirt with plain white collar; blue and grey striped silk tie; black leather lace-up shoes. (See what I mean about there being hardly any difference to today?).

(These descriptions are shortened and re-worded slightly from those in the book, so if anyone is interested in a little more detail just ask.)

Crikey, I feel like I could open my own fashion house after all that! OK, maybe not, but I hope this series will provide a useful insight into the clothes and accessories of the 1940s. Many more where that came from; I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to seeing what's next!


  1. Thanks for posting this!
    Have read it with pleasure!

  2. Oh wow, thanks for posting this! You have alerted me to the existance of this fabulous looking book (I have been searching for a book such as this for a while) and I have now ordered it for myself from Amazon! Thankyou! Pip pip xx

  3. Hiya, am just about to give you the stylish blogger award, I've only been reading your blog for a little while but I really like it.


Don't just sit there, type something! I enjoy reading all friendly and positive comments.


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